Competition Commission recommends that service providers reduce data prices by up to 50%

Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

The Competition Commission has recommended that network service providers lower their mobile data costs by between 30% and 50% within the next two months or face prosecution.

LISTEN | What lower data cost will mean for SA 

Data services market inquiry by the Commission has found that data prices in South Africa are excessively high and service providers such as Vodacom and MTN - who have the largest market share -  have failed to explain why.

As it stands, 1gigabyte of data costs around R150 which, according to the Commission, is high and discriminates against the poor who cannot afford it.

“Vodacom and MTN must immediately reduce prices by agreement with the Commission and I have indicated before we believe on the basis of evidence that there is scope for price reductions in the region of 30 to 50%,” said commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

“A failure to reach this agreement within two months will then lead the Commission considering going ahead with prosecution for excessive pricing or other exclusionary abuse before the Tribunal,” Bonakele said.

He said the current pricing strategy by mobile giants MTN and Vodacom may be discriminatory and exploited the poor. The inquiry also found that MTN and Vodacom may have monopolised the data industry.  

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